I’d actually wanted to post about the fantastic weekend I had. Clean air, fly fishing, good company, Whiskey (of Irish and Scottish types), Red Wine, beer and the laughter of children.
What could be better.
I’ll write about that weekend in the next couple of posts, but something else has been nibbling at me.
What do we take joy in? It’s not a difficult question on the face of it, you can ask your best friend, enquire of the people you work with, ask your significant other. I’m willing to bet that each of them will have the same answer.
A simple response to a complex question; what makes us happy? I bet that everyone you know will respond with variations of the following, “the love of family and friends”, “being with the people I love”, “a couple of drinks with my mates”, “a night at home with my family’.
It doesn’t take (as my daughter of six says); ‘a brain scientist’ to see a thread here.
Family and fun.
I stumbled on something last week which made me think. Let it be said that I hate chain letters, but sometimes, not often, but sometimes you open a mail and you pause.
A good friend sent me a copy of a mail that has been doing the rounds and it really grabbed my attention. It was a list written by a woman of 90 years old (I’m sure you’ve all seen it by now).
The wisdom of age, combined with a joy of a life well lived shone through.
I’m not going to go through each of the pointers that she gave, there were a lot of them and each made immediate, visceral sense.
But there was one which was resonated with me due to my experience on the latest fishing weekend.
During the course of one evening, after day at the dam one of my companions turned to me and said “you’re such a child sometimes”.
Now the lady of whom I wrote earlier had, as one of her pieces of advice this to say (and I paraphrase):
“You’re never too old to have a second childhood, you choose when the time is right”.
I’m 40 years old and I’m lucky to have two other immediate loves in my life (i.e. those who share Mallach World Headquarters in Johannesburg), a woman who is seven years younger than I, and a daughter of six.
Both know that I suffer from what I like to call the Peter Pan Syndrome.
I strongy believe that J.M. Barry was right. You have to reach into yourself and find your inner child. If you have kids you owe it to the little ones. Most people lose it and become hard. I’ve seen it happen to those I love.
I believe that we can all take a moment to look around at our family and the world at large and see both beauty and harshness.
Choose your own path.
We all want the best for our kids. Can you balance the economic needs of your family with their emotional needs? To use the words of the people who write books on business, I believe that it’s an imperative . I’ve learned from my own experience growing up and trust me it’s a none negotiable.
Although you may not feel it immediately, the dividends (again with the economists) pay off in the short, medium and (I hope) the long term.
Life is difficult, at times maddening, all the time challenging. Sometimes you feel anxious and afraid; we all do.
Don’t panic. What you’re feeling is part of the human condition. Winston Churchill used to call it the Black Dog. A horrible depression that chased him throughout his life.
That feeling of despair, hopelessness and nagging insecurity is something we all experience.
The last 20 year’s of my life have been filled with panic, dread and insecurity.
A wise man once told me; this to shall pass.
And he was right.
Reach into yourself, wake up to see another sunrise, lie down on the grass, roll over. Look at the clouds. Have fun. Poke fun at your friends (at all times gently), kiss, roll in the grass, jump in the pool, throw a water balloon, look for lizards, pick up a frog, revel in the sunlight. Run in the rain.
If your family are not too old, grab them and pull them down, roll on the lawn, get the dogs to roll around with you. If there are kids, squirt them with water (buy cheap water pistols, the most fun things in the world), turn on the sprinklers. But the kids need to have water balloons and the dogs need to have kids.
And this is the best advice that I can give you…
Laugh at yourself. Be a child.
Difficult I know, but try, you’ll be surprised at the rewards of visiting that island where Captain Hook, Tinkerbell and Peter Pan play catch up for eternity.
Remember what Hook hears all the time. Tick Tock, Tick Tock, time is fleeting.
Another wise man said to me, “in all you do have fun”.
Sometimes difficult, always possible.
The crocodile of time of time is lurking in the waters of your life. This is not a dress rehearsal.
Reading what I’ve just written I realise it’s all over the place, sorry. There doesn’t seem to be a thread that runs through it. Sometimes you’ve just got to go with the flow.
This is a blog, just my thoughts. I’ll be more journalistic next time.
PS: I cannot emphasise more, waterpistols are good. Adults shake their heads, but they want to take part. Encourage your children to soak them, they love it.
PPS: If the adults don’t like it then they haven’t had enough red wine.
PPPS: If they still don’t like it then fuck them.
PPPPS: Invite me over and give me a water pistol. I’ll fly over there, just like Peter Pan.
If they don’t, then maybe I can recommend some reading matrial for them. JM Barry might have some pointers for all of us.
If not, then we should all gather over the nearest bridge and play Pooh Sticks. I bet you that my stick beats yours on the trip down the river. It’s all about the drop and the laughs.